Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

I am from Titov Veles: Special mention at Sarajevo

The Macedonian film, I am from Titov Veles won the Special Jury Award at the 2007 Sarajevo Film Festival. Special is just the right word for this movie, the latest from Teona Mitevska.
Perhaps the jury has a soft spot for this film, which was a SFF CineLink project in 2004, but there is no doubt that it is a special film. Teona Mitevska tells the story of three sisters who live together in a struggling post-industrial town in Macedonia. As the rest of the townsfolk get on more or less successfully with their lives, the three sisters are haunted and crippled by the past: their broken family history, and the physical and psychological damage caused by pollution, sexual promiscuity and drug addiction. The focus is on the youngest sister, Afrodita, who refuses to speak and lives in a dream world of desires and fantasies. She knows these things are unreal, but she is unable to live without them.
The film itself is at times dreamlike, surrealistic and poetic and at other times, brutally naked. This type of imagery may not appeal to all audiences, but it is well done and gives the film its unique quality. However, in my opinion, it is something else which makes this film special: the relationship between the sisters and their interaction with others. Teona Mitevska knows about family relationships, her production company is headed by herself and her two siblings, and she puts a lot of personal knowledge into this story. Morevoer, her sister, the very accomplished actress, Labina Mitevska, plays the lead role, successfully channeling Teona’s unique style of storytelling.
At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening, August 25, Teona played her “special” role to the hilt, floating onstage in her floorlength gown, she gave an emotional speech in which she tried to explain her personal vision of cinema, But no explanation was necessary, since the film speaks for itself. Labina and her brother were there, the multitalented trio not disappointing, as they took the limelight with their idiosyncratic wardrobe and creative spirit. Special is precisely the right word for them, and for this film.
I am from Titov Veles. 2006, Macedonia. Written and directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska.

May 9, 2009 Posted by | cinema | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Esma Redzepova at New Morning

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Esma Redzepova Rocks the House at New Morning
Going to see Esma Redzepova tonight at New Morning, the laid back jazz club near Chateau d’Eau in Paris. The Queen of the Macedonian gypsies! Eastern European gypsy music is addictive, that must be why it has become so fashionable in Paris lately. Could it have started with the teenagers who get on the metro dragging a huge amplifier on wheels, which they then turn to blasting levels and gyrate around with their shirts open to the beat of “Dragostea din Tei”? No, no way! I always wondered how they could be so oblivious to what people find truly annoying. No, it didn’t start with them, Emir Kustorica is a more likely source, and a lot more classy.


Was it worth it? Of course, even with the crosstown negotiations to bring a friend from Colorado, and her niece, an eighteen year old lookalike of Paris Hilton. Ever try squeezing your way through the sex starved African post adolescent males who sell telephone cards at the Chateau D’eau metro, with Paris Hilton in tow? It was quite an adventure, and that was just the starter.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | concerts, music, performances | , , , | Leave a comment